Governors Begin to Speak Out for Cannabis Legalization Amid Pandemic

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Americans continue to struggle for answers throughout this pandemic. The country continues to fall economically, despite parts reopening. Many Americans are wondering why states aren’t doing more to recover from this economic crash. State Governors from New Mexico and New York have both demonstrated their support for legalization when asked about this.

New Mexico

Earlier this year, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared her support for cannabis legalization. Her hopes were that by now New Mexico would have legalized cannabis and have a regulatory framework for its use. She also wanted to create a regulated market that wouldn’t interfere with that state’s existing medical cannabis program.

Today, Grisham is still fighting for the legalization, possibly more than ever. At the end of a Coronavirus briefing, a reporter asked if she was still in favor of legalizing cannabis amidst the pandemic as an additional source of state income.

“I think all of our policymakers need to think clearly—and they should expect me to be supporting in the next general election—we have to pass recreational cannabis in the state,” said Grisham. “We need to diversify our economy, we need to increase the opportunity for recurring revenue and we have to rebuild an economy that has suffered dramatically during this public health crisis.”

Although Grisham has been supporting this legalization, opposition continues to deviate her plans. Earlier this year, the state tried and failed at passing a legalization bill that would have initiated cannabis revenue as early as July 2020.

“The projections are nearly $100 million of recurring revenue into the budget” according to Grisham. “If we want economic support and economic relief, then we have to use every economic idea.”

Nonetheless, lawmakers continue to battle against Grisham to legalize cannabis. Unfortunately, the state has missed its window to collect cannabis revenue this year. New Mexico isn’t the only state struggling to legalize cannabis, however. Many Governors across the state are fighting this battle. On the other side of the country, in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked the same question.

New York 

COVID-19 has hit New York City harder than any other city in the country. To this day, the state struggles to collect enough PPE and other medical resources to contain the virus. As a result, many of the state’s resources have dried up, leaving the city in need of more economic revenue.

At the end of New York’s Coronavirus briefing, a reporter asked the governor if he believes in cannabis legalization during this time.

“I believe we will [get it legalized], but we didn’t get it done this last session because it’s a complicated issue and it has to be done in a comprehensive way,” Cuomo said. “I support the legalization of marijuana passage. I’ve worked very hard to pass it.”

According to Cuomo, cannabis will be legalized by the end of this year. If so, the state will also collect an immense amount of state revenue. Many opportunities could arise with this revenue, such as recovery from this recession.

Both Governors have struggled with lawmakers to compromise on this legalization, as many states have. Unfortunately, now may be the best time to do it. The Coronavirus has negatively affected many parts of the country, and this will be one way to bounce back from it. This may be a grim time for the country, but Gov. Grisham is hopeful this is a way to achieve what seems to be the impossible.

“We have an opportunity,” Grisham said.

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